Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. Johnson is the first NASCAR driver to test positive for the respiratory disease, and will have to miss this weekend's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a result. Johnson is reportedly asymptomatic, but will not be able to return to the sport cleared by a physician, according to Hendrick Motorsports. He was tested today after his wife tested positive for the disease.
In a statement released by NASCAR, Johnson said his first priority is the health and safety of his loved ones and teammates are his first priority.
"I've never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it's going to be very hard to watch from the sidelines when I'm supposed to be out there competing. Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I'm going to come back ready to win races and put ourselves in playoff contention."
This diagnosis throws a wrench into Johnson's goal of being one of three drivers win at Indianapolis five times. Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher are the only other two who have accomplished this feat. Johnson, who is currently 12th in the Cup Series standings and holding onto an active driver record of 663 consecutive Cup Series starts, was set to retire at the end of the season. He was also set to test an IndyCar track next week, a plan that's also naturally been scrapped.
Justin Allgaier is set to be Johnson's replacement and will drive the No. 48 Chevy on Sunday. He is a full-time driver in the Xfinity Series in the No. 7 car for JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Hendrick, the owner of Johnson's car.
This positive test not only means missing this week's race, but potentially missing out on the Cup race at Kentucky and the All-Star race at Bristol.